Corruption Goes All the Way to the Top in 'Mr Bates vs The Post Office' Episode 2

Katherine Kelly as Angela Van Den Bogerd clasping her hands in 'Mr Bates vs the Post Office' Episode 2

Katherine Kelly as Angela Van Den Bogerd in 'Mr Bates vs the Post Office' Episode 2 

ITV Studios/Masterpiece

In every movie about a big corruption or scandal there's always a scene where the trepid investigator goes, "This goes so much deeper than we thought." In Erin Brockovich, it's when Julia Roberts realizes that the Hinkley water contamination affected almost everyone who worked at or lived around the PG&E plant. In Spotlight, it was when Michael Keaton's reported team realized Catholic priest molestation scandals were a worldwide problem. 

If the premiere episode of Mr Bates vs. The Post Office was about the subpostmasters realizing they weren't alone, the second episode proved how far into The Post Office the corruption spread and how far the company went to cover it up. The second episode was the second act of a scandal drama, and things got juicier and darker. If you thought the bankruptcy in the premiere was depressing, Episode 2 took things to a whole new level. 

The newest installment of the mini-series brought a new subpostmaster into the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance, Saman Kaur (Krup Pattani), into the fold. When we meet Sam, she's pled guilty to 19 charges of theft levied by The Post Office, but her husband and the alliance convince her to reverse her plea. She does so, and The Post Office ups her charges to 36 counts and doubles the amount she's responsible for. The stress of the trial and judgment from the community push Sam to stab herself before her husband Jas (Amit Shah) gets her help. The doctors tell him that Sam's depression is so bad that they recommend Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) to treat her and warn him not to Google it. 

Spoiler alert: Of course, he Googles it! And guess what? It's awful! It adds another layer of darkness to the whole proceedings. 

Krupa Pattani as Saman Kaur, Amit Shah as Jasgun Singh sit in the meeting in Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Krupa Pattani as Saman Kaur, Amit Shah as Jasgun Singh in Mr Bates vs The Post Office 

ITV Studios/Masterpiece

Luckily Alan (Toby Jones) and his alliance are simultaneously making waves at The Post Office thanks to a man named Michael Rudkin (Shaun Dooley). He used to work for the National Federation of Subpostmasters (a.k.a. Harley Quinn to The Post Office's Joker) and went to receive some training from Fujitsu, the company that makes the Horizon machines causing all of this turmoil. While he was there, Michael discovered the engineers were able to remotely access subpostmaster terminals and manually override their earnings. 

For those playing along with our movie metaphors, Michael Rudkin's story is the Mr Bates equivalent of the guy in the bar in Erin Brockovich who tells Julia Roberts that he has proof that PG&E corporate knew about the water contamination in Hinkley. Michael confirms that Fujitsu and The Post Office lied to all of the subpostmasters that remote access to their systems was impossible. When he returned home from that fateful visit, The Post Office accused his wife Susan, who was minding their post office on his visit, of losing 44 thousand pounds and she also had to plead guilty to fraud charges. 

At The Post Office headquarters Managing Director Paula Vennells (Lia Williams) and her Head of Network Services Angela Van Den Bogerd (Katherine Kelly) – like, COME ON with that Bond villain name – are trying to get their ducks in a row. Alan and the alliance have pushed The Post Office to hire an independent investigator in hopes it'll end the controversy that is being kicked up. 

Ian Hart as Bob Rutherford, secret hero of 'Mr Bates vs The Post Office'

Ian Hart as Bob Rutherford, secret hero of 'Mr Bates vs The Post Office'

ITV Studios/Masterpiece

Enter our hero!! I know what you're thinking. "We already have a hero. His name is in the title of the show." And sure, we love Alan, but Alan wouldn't have gotten anywhere without our MVP Bob Rutherford (Ian Hart*). 

*(Side note: Today, I learned that my beloved Kester from My Mad Fat Diary is also Professor Quirrell from Harry Potter, and that would be so hard to recover from if it weren't for Hart's wonderful turn here in Mr Bates.) 

Our buddy Bob comes in from the independent accounting firm Second Sight to look into the subpostmaster's claims. He spends a good chunk of the episode interviewing people like Michael and Jo (Monica Dolan). He fully won me over when he broke down in tears over Lee's (Will Mello) heartbreaking story. He then goes straight to The Post Office and calls them out for suing people with no money just to prove a point. Afraid of how they might be turning into the villains, The Post Office drops the case against Sam, allowing her to go home with a clean record. 

Before you start thinking that The Post Office has grown a conscience, we learn that they deleted all records of Michael ever going to Fujitsu that day, but as all former LiveJournal users know, the internet is forever baby. Michael found the e-mail confirming his visit to Fujitsu on the day he said he went there and all seven Post Office executives are cc'd on the correspondence. The Post Office tried to deny it, of course, but Bob is on to them now, especially after he also discovered a report that claimed the corporate office had "no evidence" of Jo committing fraud. They completely trumped up charges against our sweet Jo, who mortgaged her house to pay the money she owed! Ugh, they are so lucky this is a TV show or I would fly to England and throw HANDS at Miss Angela Liar Liar Pants on Fire. If this series does not end with Angela behind bars, I will still fly to England and riot. 

Shaun Dooley as Michael Rudkin stands in a corner of the room in Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Shaun Dooley as Michael Rudkin in Mr Bates vs The Post Office 

ITV Studios/Masterpiece

The show is trying to stir up intrigue for the final two episodes. This hour ended with Paula reaching out to Alan in hopes that they can strike a deal. The water is obviously getting hot and Paula is starting to feel the burn. If this series weren't based on a case that made global headlines when it was resolved, I would be worried that Alan might sell out the alliance to take a handout from The Post Office, but never fear. Alan is our guy, and soon we head to court to take The Post Office Down. Who knew it was possible to get this heated over stamp receipts? 

Mr Bates vs The Post Office continues on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on PBS, with new episodes available streaming on the PBS App and the PBS Prime Video Channel. As always, check your local listings.

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Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Starring Toby Jones, this drama is based on the real-life British Post Office scandal.
Mr Bates vs The Post Office: show-poster2x3

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Megan Vick has been writing about pop culture on the internet professionally since she was 18 years old, but she's not going to tell you how long ago that was. 

She grew up on British TV thanks to her very British mother, but she also loves mom shows of all kinds and YA romances. Her byline has appeared in TV Guide, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and more. 

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